This civilisation is finished: so what is to be done?

12 02 2019

Rupert Read, Environmental Philosopher and Chair of Green House Think Tank. The Paris Agreement explicitly commits us to use non-existent, utterly reckless, unaffordable and ineffective ‘Negative Emissions Technologies’ which will almost certainly fail to be realised. Barring a multifaceted miracle, within a generation, we will be facing an exponentially rising tide of climate disasters that will bring this civilization down. We, therefore, need to engage with climate realism.

This means an epic struggle to mitigate and adapt, an epic struggle to take on the climate-criminals and, notably, to start planning seriously for civilizational collapse. Dr Rupert Read is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. Rupert is a specialist in Wittgenstein, environmental philosophy, critiques of Rawlsian liberalism, and philosophy of film. His research in environmental ethics and economics has included publications on problems of ‘natural capital’ valuations of nature, as well as pioneering work on the Precautionary Principle.

Recently, his work was cited by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in their landmark decision to ban the cultivation of GM aubergine. Rupert is also chair of the UK-based post-growth think tank, Green House, and is a former Green Party of England & Wales councillor, spokesperson, European parliamentary candidate and national parliamentary candidate. He stood as the Green Party MP-candidate for Cambridge in 2015.

About the series Shed A Light is a series of talks that seek to present alternative framings of future human-nature interactions and the pragmatic solution pathways that we could take to get there. By recognising the interlinkages between struggles for ecological, social and economic justice in addition to the desperate need for immediate societal transformation, Shed A Light aims to engage everyone with the green agenda and prompt broad-based discussions on sustainability issues. Filmed at Churchill College, 7 November 2018.





Why is emergency-scale climate action necessary?

24 09 2016

From climatecodered.org

The world now faces a climate emergency. Our scientists tell us. We know it. Slowly the political elite are realising that the current international climate policy-making paradigm is dying of failure. Recognition of the climate emergency is now written into the platform for the Democratic Party for the 2016 US presidential election.

So how does our scientific understanding guide as to constructing a new way of looking at the challenge, as to what is happening, what is safe, and how we should respond? The Victorian Climate Action Network held a workshop on these questions on 11 September 2016. The slides below were the contribution by David Spratt to the first session, which asked the question ‘Why is emergency-scale action necessary?’

Slides





Scientists: Window for avoiding 1.5C global warming ‘seems to have closed’

5 07 2016

Even as our new Senator Pauline Hanson wants a Royal Commission into Climate Science…….

Global greenhouse gas emissions as implied by INDCs compared to no-policy baseline, current-policy and 2°C scenarios. White lines show the median of each range. The white dashed line shows the median estimate of what the INDCs would deliver if all conditions are met. The 20th–80th-percentile ranges are shown for the no-policy baseline and 2°C scenarios. Graphic: Rogelj, et al., 2016 / Nature

By Megan Darby
29 June 2016

(Climate Change News) – Scientists have bad news for people on the front line of climate change impacts.

The 1.5C global warming limit vulnerable countries fought hard to include in the Paris Agreement may already be out of reach.

There is slim chance of stabilising temperature rise at that level without controversial negative emissions technology, according to a study published inNature.

“The window for limiting warming to below 1.5C with high probability and without temporarily exceeding that level already seems to have closed,” the report found.

It is a blow for those living near the coast of Bangladesh or low-lying islands like Kiribati, which is preparing for an exodus as rising seas swallow homes.

Coral reefs dying and tropical heatwaves are also expected to kick in at moderate levels of global warming, affecting millions of people worldwide.

In the most up-to-date analysis available, researchers found national climate pledges were consistent with temperature rise of 2.6-3.1C above pre-industrial levels. [more]

Scientists: Window for avoiding 1.5C global warming ‘closed’


ABSTRACT: The Paris climate agreement aims at holding global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To accomplish this, countries have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining their post-2020 climate action. Here we assess the effect of current INDCs on reducing aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, its implications for achieving the temperature objective of the Paris climate agreement, and potential options for overachievement. The INDCs collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to where current policies stand, but still imply a median warming of 2.6–3.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. More can be achieved, because the agreement stipulates that targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are strengthened over time, both in ambition and scope. Substantial enhancement or over-delivery on current INDCs by additional national, sub-national and non-state actions is required to maintain a reasonable chance of meeting the target of keeping warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2 °C [pdf]





Paris Agreement: Twelve Days That Damned Our World?

15 01 2016

An excellent article from Boomer Warrior.  May the looming crisis save us from ourselves, because the powers that be sure as hell won’t……

Paris Agreement: Twelve Days That Damned Our World, boomer warrior

The world is ruled by those who show up. And world leaders did show up last December in Paris to sign the first climate agreement that would shape climate action for decades to come and perhaps to the end of this century. After 20 years of international climate negotiations, The Paris Agreement was formally adopted on December 12, 2015. So, will the Paris Agreement save the planet or has it damned our world?

“This is truly a historic moment…For the first time, we have a truly universal agreement on climate change, one of the most crucial problems on earth.” (United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon)

Like millions of others around the globe I got caught up in the euphoria of the moment; I was filled with hope and optimism. We have finally come to our senses I allowed myself to think. But then climate reality set in.

Now that the celebrations are over, now that the champagne has stopped flowing and now that the high-fives and congratulatory back-slapping for a job well done are over, it’s time to take a more sober look at what has really been accomplished.

Former NASA scientist James Hansen calls the agreement a fraud and a fake with “no action, just promises…..we’ll have a 2 degree warming target and then try to do a little better every five years. It’s just worthless words.” Hansen claims we are already at a level of emergency. We do not need more blue-sky pledges.

Paris Agreement has Damned Our World


Published December 5, 2015
Standard YouTube License

Naomi Klein, Canadian environmentalist and climate activist, has called the climate deal scientifically inadequateBill McKibben (350.org) stated that, “The world’s governments have now announced their intentions. And so the rest of us can hold them to those promises, or at least try. What, you want to build a pipeline? I thought you were going to go for 1.5 degrees. You want to frack? Are you fracking kidding me? You said you were going for 2 degrees at the absolute worst.”

Inadequacies of the Agreement

Paris Agreement: Twelve Days That Damned Our World, boomer warrior

Mock Eiffel tower at Le Bourget conference centre (credit: IISD/Kiara Worth)

Citizens Climate Lobby Canada points out four facts to keep in mind:

  1. It is not a formal commitment to a 1.5 oC limit–just a promise to pursue that limit.
  2. The actual plans from the 195 countries that took part in the Paris Agreement currently still commit the world to a temperature rise well above the two degree limit.
  3. In November 2015 the world hit the one degree rise above pre-industrial levels.
  4. Also in November 2015, humanity passed another ominous milestone: the last time anyone alive experienced global carbon dioxide (CO2) levels below 400 ppm. The scientific data strongly suggests that the safe level is 350 ppm. For over 10,000 years of human civilization, until the last hundred years, atmospheric COwas below 300 ppm.

Gap between evidence and promise

The gap between what is needed to make the planet livable for future generations and the tenuous promises of the agreement is shocking. Even if the 195 signatories to the deal attain their respective emissions targets, the agreement will lock us into a future of 3-4 degrees of planetary warming–a truly catastrophic and unimaginable nightmare.

Just before the start of the Paris talks, Dahr Jamail (Truthout Report) claimed that the Paris climate talks would be too little too late:

Well in advance of the Paris talks, the UN announced that the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere has locked in another 2.7 degrees Celsius warming at a minimum, even if countries move forward with the pledges they make to cut emissions. Hence, even the 2 degree Celsius goal is already unattainable….The faux goal of 2 degrees Celsius continues to be discussed. Meanwhile, the planet burns.

Profit or the Planet

The Paris agreement will operate within an economic framework that fails to recognize the primary culprit of global warming and climate change–capitalism is inherently unsustainable. The deal continues to support an economic system that demands infinite growth on a planet with finite resources, a system which has already produced climate chaos around the globe.

We have twiddled with the temperature dial–1.5 or 2 degrees–while failing to address the real causes–a debt-bound economic system, the myth of progress and our millennia-long separation from wild nature on which we depend for everything.

Price on Carbon

Putting a price on carbon is recognized world-wide as the primary tool for reducing emissions and reaching a  zero-carbon reality sometime in the second half of this century. But the Agreement fails miserably to address carbon pricing. It includes murky semantics where carbon trading is referred to as“internationally transferred mitigation outcomes”Article 6 provides for an entirely new, UN-controlled international carbon market mechanism where countries will be able to trade carbon to help each other to achieve their own targets for emissions cuts. A CounterPunch article claims that Paris has set us up for failure:

Carbon markets basically function as a delaying tactic. It’s been that way ever since their first inclusion in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The EU-ETS for instance, the first, biggest and most significant of all trading schemes, simply hasn’t delivered. It took the best part of ten years for it to start after Kyoto, and once in action it was riddled by fraudcorruptionover-allocation of permits and perverse incentives for carbon offsetting – all contributing to the fact that the price for carbon is so low that nobody cares.

Two Untouchables

According to the U.N., livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And yet, animal agriculture and the consumption of meat have been largely ignored at the Paris climate talks leading up to the climate deal.

A University of Cambridge study finds that business-as-usual food consumption will eat up all of our global GHG budget by 2050, with nothing left for energy, transportation and other sectors.

The discussion surrounding “overpopulation” continues to be ignored. And yet, it is the proverbial elephant in the room. It is a taboo to even talk about this issue. By 2050, another 2 billion people will have been added to the planet putting even more strain on already depleting resources.

“Without pressure from ordinary people, world leaders would have gladly ignored this problem [global warming] entirely. It’s  pressure from people that will close the gap between what was signed today and the action we need“, wrote May Boeve of 350.0rg in a December email. I started this piece by saying that the world is ruled by those who show up. But change only happens when people on the streets take action.

That will happen in 2016.

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RollyRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a Blogger and a Climate Activist. He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa), the Ethical Team (as an influencer)  and Global Population Speakout.

Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterLinkedin and Pinterest.